After 15 years in an increasingly difficult marriage, former teacher Becky* took the brave decision to walk away from the family home that she jointly owned.
The strains of being in a relationship with an international sports star had eventually taken its toll – leaving Becky often sidelined and neglected as well as being forced to take less demanding jobs on low pay despite her degree and other qualifications.
Leaving with just a desk, a single bed and her 8-year-old daughter in tow, Becky sought refuge at her brothers for a short period before managing to raise a deposit and move into privately rented accommodation in a different village. Almost two years passed before the Wolverhampton-mum got the shock news that her landlord was selling her property.
“Suddenly, I felt my world was crumbling again. I was unable to find anything similar for the same rent or price and I knew I was facing the prospect of moving back towards the same sort of area. I was driving to work in tears one day and I knew that I needed an emergency appointment at the doctors. They ended up diagnosing me with severe anxiety and signing me off work for six months,” Becky said.
Becky was forced to move back to her brothers but her ex-husband’s behaviour escalated forcing her to go to court to secure a non-molestation order to keep him away. She became a priority housing need after being registered homeless and was eventually moved into a Bromford flat in January 2015. Incredibly, despite the troubles in her personal life, Becky had continued studying for a Masters degree during this time.
“Despite my outward success, things had escalated emotionally and financially. With all the credit card bills my husband had left me with as well as legal fees and divorce costs I was at least £6,000 in debt,” Becky explained.
“I went along to a Bromford support group and I was a blubbering mess – I just broke down. Karl Evans took me into a side room for privacy and I felt like he actually wanted to help me. He was so empathetic, personable and really made me feel comfortable. He reassured me that I’d have support for as long as I needed it.”
Support worker Fran Belford started visiting Becky on a weekly basis and put in place an action plan to help her with her finances as well as offering her advice on her next career move.
“I’ve always had high aspirations and have had quite a lot of success in my extended family and for a while I think this gave me a resilience and I kept thinking I’ve got to be strong for my daughter. But everything built up and my coping mechanisms eventually vanished and I hit rock bottom. My confidence was shot and I actually had to turn down three really good job opportunities as I couldn’t cope.
“All I was thinking at the time was getting a flat and nothing else. Whereas now Bromford have helped me to realise my aspirations were so much more than that.”
Becky eventually secured a new job in the early help team of a local council where she now uses her own experiences to support people suffering from domestic violence, substance misuse and other family-related issues.
She added: “For the first time in a long time I’m now feeling happier in myself and soon I won’t just be living from paycheck to paycheck. My daughter now sees her father at agreed times and she is developing into a very emotionally intelligent young girl – she’s intuitive, analyses things and is quick to praise and slow to criticise. I think our experience has actually benefitted her in many ways.
“There are support services out there but you have to ask for help. Unless you give up there’s always a chance your situation can get better so that’s my main advice to people.”